Words by Declan Glynn

The Audi A1 may be the smallest car that the premium German car manufacturer makes, but the new A1 supermini has big intentions.

The second-generation Audi A1 is only available as a five-door hatchback – which Audi refers to as a Sportback – thereby adding a welcome dose of practicality.

While the previous Audi A1 was a good-looking car, the new model is even more visually appealing, with a wide front grille taking centre stage, and endowing the car with a distinctly sporty look.

The three slots under the leading edge of the new A1’s bonnet are styling cues lifted directly from the latest Audi R8 supercar, while the car gives a nod to its Audi Ur-quattro and Sport quattro ancestry when viewed from the side.

Its wide, flat sloping C-pillar pushes the car forward even while standing still. The distinctively highlighted wheels, and the low shoulder line in between, give the new Audi A1 a solid stance on the road.

There are three trim levels available in the new Audi A1 – Attraction, SE, and sporty S-Line, with a selection of 10 colours to choose from.

Multiple customisation options are available too, including the option to pick a contrasting colour for the roof, front spoiler lip and side sills.

Standard equipment levels across the new Audi A1 range are generous, with the entry-level Attraction model coming with standard items as multiple airbags, Electronic Stability Programme (including ABS, EBD, ASR and EDL), adaptive brake light, remote central locking, engine immobiliser, TPMS, Audi Pre Sense Front, Lane Departure Warning and Hill Hold Assist.

Other features include Audi eCall, electric front and rear windows, front and rear floor mats, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, split folding rear seats, ISOFIX, and a front centre armrest.

In keeping with the growing trend in this class of car, there are no diesel engine options available in the new Audi A1.

However, the petrol engine line-up consists of a 1.0-litre with 116bhp, a 1.4-litre with 150bhp, and a 2.0-litre with a whopping 200bhp.

A choice of either a six-speed manual, or a seven-speed automatic (S-Tronic) gearbox is available with the first two engines, while the 2.0-litre is available only in S-Tronic guise.

My review car was a Mythos Black metallic Audi A1 SE 30 TFSI (1.0-litre) fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox.

This mid-spec model benefits from the addition of 16” alloy wheels, leather multi-function steering wheel, leather gear knob & handbrake, aluminium scuff plates, ‘advanced’ interior, ‘advanced’ bumpers, rear parking sensors, and cruise control.

The punchy, and refined, 1.0-litre engine produces 116bhp and 200Nm of torque, enabling the front-wheel-drive A1 to sprint from 0-100km/h in just 9.5-seconds, with a top speed of 203km/h achievable when the opportunity exists.

Engineered to meet strict Euro-6 emissions standards, this amazing engine is capable of extra-urban fuel consumption as low as 4.2l/100km.

A smooth ride, with crisp handling and exceptional refinement make the new Audi A1 a pleasure to drive on a variety of road surfaces, while accurate and well-weighted steering provides terrific feedback to the driver.

Thanks to exceptional build quality, and the use of high-grade materials, the car feels as refined as a premium car from two classes above.

The spacious cabin of the new Audi A1 creates a comfortable experience for all, while the inclusion of a compact unit of air vents, and the standard digital instrument cluster, is evidence of how far upmarket the wonderful new Audi A1 has gone.

Pricing for the new Audi A1 starts at just €24,650.